Although many fans see the life of a K-Pop idol through rose-tinted glasses, it has become more apparent that an idol’s life and career path are anything but easy. In particular, many have raised concerns about the differences in treatment between female and male K-Pop stars.
From how their music is perceived to the constant criticism for their actions, many fans have pointed out that female idols are held to different expectations from males.
One person who knows all about life as a female K-Pop idol is former MOMOLAND member Daisy, now known as Yoo Jung Ahn. She recently appeared on a podcast where she spoke about her time in the group, the issues of cultural appropriation, and much more.
During the podcast, the host asked Daisy whether she thought there were differences between being in a boy and girl group.
Although she explained that she didn’t know the experiences of being in a boy group, she believed there were big differences because of the attitudes of Korean society.
More to do with our society in general and how women are viewed in general, not even just in K-Pop, just the way the world views women. I think there were some injustice things or things that could’ve made people uncomfortable.
In particular, she pointed out some of the experiences girl group members might have had in the past that would be extremely different from male idols.
In K-Pop, female idols are exposed to some uncomfortable situations that they don’t want to be in.
It isn’t the first time that this kind of experience has been shared. Idol Ailee once revealed that a senior idol asked her if she intended to retire because she had gained weight. Many fans believe female idols are judged much more on their weight than males.
Host David Tizzard then pointed out that, aside from gender roles assigned to many women in Korea, there is also a different level of expectations and high standards for beauty.
For Daisy, she believed that what happens in K-Pop is just a reflection of what happens in society regarding the treatment of female and male idols, but it seems to be heightened in the industry.
They (female idols) are put on a stage for everyone to look at. They get their pictures taken, and they never know when they’re being photographed, or videos are being taken of them. People really like to take pictures of every single part of their body and talk about it.
It isn’t the first time the issue of gender equality has been brought up in both the K-Pop and Korean entertainment industries.
Although it is thought that both male and female idols experience sexualization, when it comes to issues concerning beauty standards and even pay, many studies have looked at the inequality and double standards seen.
You can listen to the whole podcast below.